Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trainspotters & Kingsmen

image borrowed from robertdarksentry.deviantart.com

Trainspotters & Kingsmen

“I shall the effect of this good lesson
keeps a watchman to my heart.”
--William Shakespeare.

Watchman, walk your rounds,
until you hear the ram’s horn;
then clang the warning.

Watchman, watchman,
you have so many faces, so many names:
                patroller, & policeman.      You were a 1796
                periodical established & edited by
                                 Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
                                                          You still are a daily
           newspaper in Sydney, Australia--the title of
                                  several novels, a graphic adult comic book,
           a rock band & so damn much more--
                                   security systems that monitor our homes
           when we are absent or asleep &

I like to believe that the watching carries on beyond this dimension
to include the spirit guides, angels, & demons that companion our
folly, routines, & daily grind. We are both repulsed & pleased to find
armed guards in malls, schools, & movie theaters on watch for the
pariah mad dogs that are attracted to public places.

I fear that the watching runs even deeper though,
         that we are observed, wire-tapped & listened in on
                 around the clock by Big Brother, sitting in their secure
                           dark rooms that are humming with technology, 
                 spying on us from our computers, phones, 
         notebooks, light bulbs, heater vents, & microwave
ovens--never alone, even on the throne
behind closed doors.

Actual privacy is hard won, elusive, & illusionary,
barely achieved on a 20-mile hike,
since we had to register our plans
with forest & park rangers, & we
encounter strangers behind every other tree,
& those pesky drones buzz above, watching
us with powerful digital eyes, as the silent squads
of silver satellites soar above them, criss-crossing
the stratosphere, watching everyone & everything,
becoming absurd anti-watcher’s watchers,
           drug deals,
                        Japanese war games,
                  North Korea,
              ivory poachers,
          Iran, &
my back yard.

Without a doubt we need all the Watchmen, even though we 
resent & often rail against them, too soon forgetting that after
we moved beyond the controlling sphere of our parent’s purview,     
after the brief illusion of total freedom, we were forced to learn
& live by the Rules, the Codes of Conduct, the Moral Imperatives,
the ever present Controls that surround us, & when we violated
any of these, we experienced the unpleasant consequences of
our own actions. So--

We should respect those
Watchmen, who patrol para-
pets protecting us.

Glenn Buttkus


Glenn Buttkus said...

Damn Sound Cloud went bonkers, it seems, so I ended up with two recitations published, & somehow I've not figured out how to delete one once it is open. So just go down to the bottom one, & enjoy.

X said...

Thor in Sentry's outfit. So the Watchmen comic did get a reference. I was so going to go that route. Who watches the Watchmen eh? The Patriot Act opened up a lot of doors in the interest of safety that made many people feel uncomfortable. And now with the drones. Freedom has a cost, there is a social contract, giving up some freedoms to preserve others. But... where do you draw the line. Do we need some? I wont deny it. But...

Claudia said...

i wonder how much "watchman" society needs
in my opinion we're watched far too much - even controlled - every little step
and what we lose more and more is this inner watchman
1984 is not so far away any more - and that scares me

brudberg said...

With so many watchmen I always end up wonder who is watching the watchmen.. maybe just by watching them we can be free.. scary sometimes, maybe even scarier than what they are set to protect us from (ourselves)

lynn__ said...

You took the prompt and ran away with it, Glenn! Thanks for listing an amazing myriad of "watchmen" around us. I find drones "eyes" very disturbing but really like your pithy philosophy in the final haiku.

ayala said...

Who is watching who...it's complicated but kudos to you, you did good.

Misky said...

Here in the UK we are watched too often, and far too thoroughly. I'm not sure if it keeps us safe or not.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Such an inspirational write :D

Victoria Ceretto-Slotto said...

I like how you included so many synonyms for watchman and even more, how you took it to the prevalence of privacy violations through so many different devices. Sometimes my husband will channel surf to forensic files and it's amazing to see all the ways law enforcement is able to pinpoint every thing we do, everywhere we've been.

Grace said...

So many watchmen and I like how you even extended the watchful eyes of the government and spies in our daily lives ~ We like them because we feel secure ~ But how much is much, until it is an invasion of our privacy ~ Enjoyed this one Glenn ~

Anonymous said...

This whole line blew me away...because you and I share so much common with this statement you wrote:

I fear that the watching runs even deeper though,
that we are observed, wire-tapped & listened in on
around the clock by Big Brother, sitting in their secure
dark rooms that are humming with technology,
spying on us from our computers, phones,
notebooks, light bulbs, heater vents, & microwave
ovens--never alone, even on the throne
behind closed doors.

Yes, we are all being watched, and we are all letting them watch us. Invading our privacy.
We have done this to ourselves. And it will get worse soon. Mandatory surveillance, and Mandatory invading privacy.


Mary said...

I really like your take on this prompt, Glenn. We all do need watchmen, and we also all ARE watchmen, I think. We are a society of watchers and watched. So true that there is no privacy. We leave tracks. Others leave tracks. Downright frightening now that I think about it!

tonispencer said...

My cousin, who was with me at Woodstock, is an inker/letterer with DC. Ages ago, in one of my Watchmen, he drew a picture of a tiny me wielding my katana and named it, Minamikaze - South Wind. One of my jobs in university was as night watchman for the law library - I loved it. perfect silence, no distractions, pleasing spookiness. The senryu at the end of this is spot on. It is flawless in its message and powerful.

Marina Sofia said...

Very good point: who watches the watchmen? But also agree with the illusion of privacy...
And I should have known you would do your research on the origins of watchmen and all their various incarnations!

Katie Mia Frederick said...

Just in my opinion..
my feeling is..
is a secret
that i do not
need.. but on
the other hand
nothing to hide..
and for me.. all these
watchers with positive intent
allow me the very freedom
that allows me
to be free
and for me at
least.. that's A
best place to
as i do not
have anything
to hide and NOW
everything tRuly
meaningful to
a world wHere
people are no
and let
become FREE..:)

kaykuala said...

We should respect those
Watchmen, who patrol para-
pets protecting us.

They are a nameless element in life a being that can accord protection. But in so doing they may act as a gatekeeper to the annoyance of a few!


Anonymous said...

You have really covered it all here! Funny...I hadn't thought about the registration for a hike in the woods as an invasion of privacy, but it is.

"I fear that the watching runs even deeper though...."
It is especially frightening when you don't know how, why, where, when and with what!

Unknown said...

Interesting point that we are being constantly watched, whether we recognize that fact or not. Sometimes I would like to live a bit less "plugged in", but I am far too addicted to technology...and therefore a lack of privacy.

Sreeja said...

Ah yes...!! so much to ponder upon...

X said...

email me.

the yahoo linked to your page
deos not seem to work.

X said...